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Jodi Toering

Date of Success:



I was born in the Mallee at Hopetoun and grew up on a wheat farm outside a small town called Beulah. 


As a child, I was fascinated with stories, reading on my own well before I went to school. When I didn’t have my nose in a book, I spent my time drawing or writing.  I had two dreams: becoming an English teacher and writing picture books for children.  

Fast forward several decades, I am now juggling the roles of full time teacher, mother, performer, and author!

In my spare time, I love creating artworks and spending time on my bush block with my husband, my two beautiful children and the ever-growing menagerie of chickens, ducks, dogs, and cats that share our home. 


I entered two stories in the CYA competition in 2014.  The first picture book manuscript came about 140th out of 150th entries!  It was a terrible result to say the least, and my first instinct was to throw the story into the bottom drawer and forget it ever existed!  But there was one piece of feedback that stood out, which was to go back and work on the manuscript, as that particular judge felt it was worth it.  So long story short, after a complete rewrite, that manuscript helped me win the inaugural Edel Wignell mentorship prize for a children’s writer with the Australian Society of Authors, and I went back to writing with renewed confidence and excitement.

The second story I entered into the CYA competition in 2014 actually came 20th out of 150 or so entries.  I continued to work on that manuscript too, and the redrafted version went on to come second in the Writer’s Unleashed Picture Book competition.  This gave me enormous courage to actually send the manuscript out into the wide blue yonder to a real, live publisher.  Maryann Ballantyne of Black Dog books saw a spark in my story and I landed my first book contract in 2016. My first book, Mallee Sky, published by Black Dog books and illustrated by the phenomenal Tannya Harricks, is coming out in February 2019, helping me realise my childhood dream of becoming a published children’s picture book author. 

I believe the feedback from the CYA competition is absolutely invaluable.  I have entered more manuscripts this year and hope to attend the conference in the near future.  

Thank you, CYA! 

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